For Government contractors, it can be a frustrating experience to have your hard-earned contract award sidetracked by a protest – particularly if that protest includes a mandatory performance stay. More frustrating still is when the agency pulls the award altogether by deciding to take corrective action and re-open the competition.
This is no time to be passive! If your contract award is under attack, contractors should get involved and intervene in the protest. This advice takes on particular importance when corrective action is proposed – the window to challenge a renewed competition closes on the date when revised proposals are due.
Government contractor NVE Inc. learned this lesson the hard way on a recent $70 million janitorial contract for the Navy. After its initial award was the subject of multiple rounds of protests, the agency made the decision to reopen the competition by engaging in discussions with all offerors.
Rather than challenge the agency’s decision to take corrective action, NVE participated in the re-opened competition and submitted a revised proposal. After the Navy awarded the contract to a different, lower-priced contractor, NVE tried to turn back the clock and protest the corrective action. The Court of Federal Claims refused to allow it.
Writing for the Court, Judge Thomas Wheeler held that “an offeror cannot fully participate in a second round of proposal submissions and then later challenge the agency’s corrective action decision. Instead, the law requires NVE to submit its challenges to an agency’s corrective action before the due date for proposal resubmission.”
Challenges to your contract award – including proposed corrective action – must monitored vigorously and confronted promptly. Don’t give up that award without a fight!